The ’Knowledge Economy’ - which sounds strangely antiquated now - seems to prosper as the wider economy stumbles and falls. The more uncertain the future, the more people seek out those who promise insight into the way things are heading. And there are profits to be made bringing such insights to market.

Watch the video of French ’architectural botanist’ Patrick Blanc’s talk about the growth of the vertical garden
In W*154, our January Next Generation issue, we looked at the growth of trend-capturing conferences, live talks from the forward thinking which have enormous on-line after lives. TED is of course the best known of these but challengers have arrived looking to put their own spin on the format.
Over the last ten years, Intelligence Squared has won a multi-platform international following for its evening debates which bring together public intellectuals and the occasional national treasure to kick about issues of the day.
At the end of last year, it held its inaugural If conference in London, promising a greater emphasis on debate and interrogation in terms of approach and technologies and urbanism in subject matter. Here, we feature videos of two of the speakers from that conference.
The American but London-based Architect Christopher Choa is a Principal with AECOM Design+Planning, the international land development and infrastructure consultancy. His talk ’The New Silk Road’ addressed the rise of the ’aerotropolis’.
Meanwhile the French ’architectural botanist’ Patrick Blanc talks about the growth of the vertical garden.